I’ve seen over the years several customers playing with mold making with their CarveWright systems. The machine is so perfect for doing this kind of thing, but I had never experimented with it, until now. I’m going to explore actually making a complete product all the way to the packaging, using the machine to make production molds.
Step 1- Idea
Ok, to get started here, we need to decide on a product to cast. I’ve seen a couple customers doing chocolate molds, so I thought this would be really fun. Next we need a theme for the chocolates. We could do something like this for gifts, or as a promotional item for a corporate event or some other kind of organization, or just for fun. I’m a fan of Science Fiction, and in particular, I enjoy the vintage stuff from the 40’s and 50’s. So I decide to make rockets, robots. and raygun chocolates.
Step 2 – Design
Using the CarveWright Modeling Suite, I created some appropriately vintage looking pattern models. Of course you can find many patterns already modeled to use for your molds, but I had a vision and the tools to make it. These pattens I made are available in the CarveWright Pattern Depot for sale and download.
Step 3 – Experiment
Experiment 1 – Carving A Negative Mold
Now that I have my designs created and ready to carve I need to pick a suitable material to carve these into. I have a piece of 1/2″ Corian here that was a sample that one of the manufactures sent me awhile back. I think I’ll carve my first mold into it. Corian carves really cleanly without any sanding or fuzzies to worry about. These chocolates aren’t very big, so I need to be able to get as much detail into them as possible. Plus it is food safe, which is very important when you are casting any item that will be eaten.
Since I will be pouring the chocolates into the mold I’ll need to invert them, and lay them out to to maximize the use of the Corian piece I have. The Corian is 10×10″ and I made each mold pattern about 4″ in it’s longest dimension. This should make a perfect size chocolate for what I’m doing. These patterns will need to be bit optimized. I set these all to High, rather than best to keep the edges as clean as I could. I also played with a small draft on some of these to try and make the casts release easier. This is where you need to zoom in and play with these settings to make sure all the little details are going to come out as you want them.
Remember, if you see it on the screen, you will see it in the carving.
I’ll need a jig for the Corian as well, so I’ll use the machine to make it. The Corian piece is 10″x10″x1/2″ so I made a project board 7″ longer and and 1″ wider. Then I drew a 10″x10″ square, made it a carved region at 1/2″ deep and centered it on both axes. End result is a 17″x11″x.75″ board with my pocket for my Corian in the middle.
Now its time to upload these and head to the shop to do some carving. The molds I will be carving in Optimal so I get as clean and sharp a carve as possible. The jig, I’ll carve in draft, so it is fast and the quality doesn’t matter.
I found a scrap piece of MDF to use for my sled. Looks like it had been used for this purpose before. I keep alot of MDF around for making sleds. It is easy to work and nice and flat. As always with MDF I ran masking tape along the bottom edge that will be riding along the tracking roller. Then I ran the project. Below is the finished jig.
Next is to place my Corian in the jig. You’ll notice, my Corian is actually Staron by Samsung. Same product, different manufacturer.
When I am carving corian, I always use a double stick tape to help hold down the corian. The last thing you want it to move during a carve. I also shimmed the edges where I had gaps and put masking tape over the edges just to make sure it was all tight and secure.
The carve is doing great! Nice and smooth and clean. BTW, I’m using a DC Insert made by long time CarveWright user, Floyd Harris. I won’t run a machine without a dust collection hood. It just makes things so much easier and better.
The mold carve finished and looks perfect. The corian and the optimal carve made the results nearly perfectly smooth.
Now it’s time to wash this thoroughly before making my chocolates. I think am going to run it through the dishwasher.
Experiment 1 – Pouring Test
Spent the weekend pouring chocoloates…
Using a double boiler to melt the chocolate. Put water in the bottom pot and the set a smaller pot with the chocolate into the water. You don’t need to boil the water, just heat it up. I used a candy thermometer to make sure the chocoloate didn’t get too hot. You want to be around 110º F.
Experiment 1 – Result: Failure
This mold did not work!! Because the mold is so rigid, I couldn’t get the chocolates to release. I ended up digging them out one small chunk at a time.
Experiment 2 – Carving A Positive Mold
Well, off to plan B. I anticipated this and had another idea ready in the wings.
A lot of commercial molds you can buy are made of silicone rubber. After looking into buying some food safe silicone and seeing the prices, I decided to try something else. I had read about gelatin molds on Instructables.com awhile back and thought I’d like to try them for casting parts. Since gelatine is obviously food safe, I decided this was the time to play around with it. After researching several recipes I found one that seemed easy enough and didn’t require ordering a bunch of stuff off the web. I went down to my local supermarket and Hobby Lobby and picked up all the materials for about $12. It requires only 4 ingredients. Gelatin, glycerine, honey, and water.
Gelatin Mold Recipe
Here is the recipe that I used, borrowed from Instructables.com
The amounts are not too critical, but I used a half a cup as 1 part. 1 part honey 1 part water 2 parts gelatin (found at any supermarket) 2 parts glycerine (Found at Hobby Lobby for around $3 in the soap making section) Measure out the water, honey and glycerine and place in a small plastic container. Warm the container in the microwave, on full power for 20 seconds and give the mixture a really good stir. You want the mix warm to hot but NOT BOILING. Measure out and add the gelatin to the container and start stirring it, you want all the crystals to dissolve. Give the mix another 20 seconds in the microwave if the crystals won't dissolve. Keep stirring and heating as necessary to dissolve the gelatin and give a uniform colour and consistency. DON'T LET THE MIXTURE BOIL! Once the mix has become uniform and a sort of clear goldish brown colour, it's ready for cooling. Stick the container in the fridge or the freezer and leave it for a few hours.
The basic mix is now ready. It will take fairly rough treatment at this stage, so force a finger between the mix and the side of the container and pull out the ‘puck’ of rubbery gelatin mix.
The pucks can be placed in a food bag and stored in the freezer until required. I make up 2 batches like this to get started.
Now I need to carve out a new mold. This time I’ll need to carve the positive so I can cast the gelatin into it.
I want these chocolates to be around 1/2″ thick and I just used my only 1/2″ piece of Corian on the last mold. I do have lots of 1/4″ scrap around however, so I’ll try glueing some together to make a 3/4″ thick board. I am using liquid CA glue, applying liberally and clamping the pieces together.
I let this sit clamped for a day before carving. To carve this, I’ll need a jig. The size of the finished glued up corian was 7″ x 8″, so I built a jig with scrap material to fit this piece into.
Next, I need to redesign the mold files as positives. This design is arranged with a 1/2″ deep carve region around the patterns. The patterns are set to .35″ deep with a small draft on them and bit optimization best. This should give me a lot of detail and the draft will help the mold to release. I then saved and uploaded the files with the optimal setting. Should be about 4 hours of carving.
The carves came out really good. The detail is amazing in this Corian, and my superglue seams held up. ( I was a little worried it might come apart.)
Experiment 2 – Making the Mold
Now after a quick wash in the sink with soap and water, to make sure I’m keeping everything food safe, it’s time to pour our mold. I needed a little more of a form around the edges, so I created one real quick with cardboard.
Next I pulled out the gelatin batches I had in the freezer and put them into one container and placed in the microwave. I cooked it for 20 seconds at a time until it was fully melted again and them poured it into my form. Then it goes in the freezer for an hour or more.
The mold came out prefect. It is very detailed and it is as tough as any silicone I’ve worked with.
Experiment 2 – Pouring Test
Now its ready for Chocolate. I’ll double boil it again like I did before and spoon it into the molds.
After the mold is filled, place in the freezer for about 10 minutes to cool.
Experiment 2 – Result: Success!
The chocolates are finished and they look awesome. The detail all came through perfectly.
Careful not to handle them without gloves as you will leave fingerprints.
Experiment 3 – Making Gummy Candies
I got to thinking about that first mold that didn’t work, and I came up with an idea of how to use it. I have all this gelatin left over, so I researched some recipes for making gummie bears. I found several, so I chose the simpler solution and gave it a try. Here is the simple recipe:
- 7 packets of unlfavored gelatin
- 1 packet of flavored jello (whatever flavor you prefer)
- 1/2 cup of cold water
Open all the unflavored and flavored gelatin and place in a pot on the stove.
Add the the water and stir gently.
Turn the heat on medium and continue gently stirring until all the crystals are dissolved.
Pour the mixture into a measuring cup with a spout for easier pouring.
Pour the mixture into your molds.
Place the molds in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Take them out and remove them from the mold.
Experiment 3 – Results: Yummy Gummies
So now I have custom made chocolates and gummie treats all created with my CarveWright system. Now all these need are some packaging and I have a product. See the next build on stamping to see how I do that.
After trying my gummies, you may want to add some sugar. All that gelatin kind of diluted the flavor. I’ve found several other recipes out there as well. Here is one I think I’ll try for next time:
For your line marks I would check to see if you have any corian dust build up on/in any of the rail (Y and Z) and/or the drive belts and pulleys. The dust does not compress like wood dust and can cause the gears to skip. Are you using any dust collection?
Thanks for putting this together! I am having an issue with \”banding\” on all of my flat surfaces. I set it to bit optimization high and the highest upload setting, but there are pretty significant streaks across the project. In a board it wouldn\’t be a problem, but for chocolates it\’s gonna look bad.This is the first time I have used corian, and I expected it to be much smoother. Yours look pretty darn smooth. Did you sand them?
I would also check the tip of your bit. When I am seeing major lines in my carvings, its usually been a chip in the bit tip.
I like this very much great job! It got me thinking, not sure if it can be done.
Do you think the Gelatin could be used for concrete? I remember a post about concrete and foam
and this got me thinking
I am going to try some experiments with the gelatin and concrete shortly. Concrete is something I am currently playing with and will be blogging about soon.
Very cool, thanks for the information.
Hi…not sure what happened to my post…it seems it’s disappeared.
I was wondering what type and sized bit you used to router the corian?
I just used the 1/16″ carving bit that comes standard with the machine.
COOL STUFF!!!! What size bit did you use?
Can I buy some of these space molds from you?
I adore the design,
This method could be used to make Ceramic Mold Overlays to be applied to hand made tiles…
Nice job, Great idea for projects with the Grand Kids
Perfect for Candies and Cookies!
Thanks for sharing
Cool stuff and looks yummy! On the original molds did you try coating it with butter or similar as a release agent?
Thanks Floyd, I did try butter, but Chocolate can be very finicky. Chocolate is made from what is called cocoa butter which is a fat and it doesn’t play well with other fats. It tried to mix with the butter and gave the chocolates a sickly look, or what they call a chocolate bloom. Water has a similar effect, so you don’t want to have any water around when doing this. I learned this after washing my mold and being too anxious to make more before letting the mold dry properly. The chocolate forms a light brown kind of dusty look to it. Still tastes fine, but it doesn’t look good. I tried everything I could think of to get that first mold to work with the chocolates, but it just wouldn’t release. I’m kind of glad though. The gelatin molds are awesome. So easy and cheap to make, and they can be melted back down and reused!
This is FUN to read and has a ton of great info. Thanks, Joe!
Can’t wait to read the next blog about the complete product, packaging and so on!
Looks sweet, pun intended. nice Job!
If you want to make chocolate molds you are diong it the hard way .if you cut your molds in MDF then vacform PET-G ( about .015 ” thick ) into your mold you will get the perfect chocolate mold plus you can make multiple molds in munutes . But you do need the vacformer .
I do have several vacforms so I’m interested in your knowledge of making chocolate
molds. What exactly is PET-G and where can I obtain some?
PET-G is a thermoplastic polyester product used in plastic containers like water and soda bottles. It is food grade, and easily found at your local plastics distributor or you can order it online. I even found it on Ebay http://www.ebay.com/bhp/petg-sheet
These look great! Are you taking an actual toy and using the scan tool to make the pattern?
Are you carving this into wood or plastic? I am hungry for more details. I have had my machine for about two years and have made a lot of signs and plaques. But your projects intrigue me. I am always looking for new ways to utilize my machine. I am legally blind, so when I can turn out high quality items (as you know, the machine does all the quality) I impress myself as well as my friends and family. I feel useful again when I can produce something that makes people smile.
Thanks for the time you put into your projects and thanks for the blog.
Cool! So what are you carving the molds into??
I don’t have a website. I can see that making molds can be fun. I have used the CW for scanning my relief carvings and making reproductions out of harder wood than the original Basswood product. Also I can vary the size of the piece. My other interests are making items so that I can reproduce things faster using my router and woodturning techniques. Pretty good at making templates for a pin router. I try to do the repetitive stuff with other tools to save wear and tear on my CW. Also have used it to design pieces for trophy items by combining some of my carvings to fit the project. Another thing that I have been thinking recently is to make some fancy heart earrings. I like to make give-a-ways for Valentines Day. Two ways to do it. One is to use the software and make the design which I am not very good at doing. Other is to draw out a heart design an cut it on the scroll saw. Then scan it and edit. Then make a two-sided multiple cut project out of it. Got to get on that if I am going to get some made for this year.
Hope I didn’t write too much but want to contribute to the thought process of using the machine. I am like you as I love using the machine for creativity and am always thinking about ways and things to make.